The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season is just about a month away and most forecasts indicate this year will be more active than the last. Forecasters at North Carolina State University in Raleigh just released their forecast this week calling for an above normal season. That agrees with an earlier forecast from Colorado State University.
The NC State forecast led by tropical meteorology professor Dr. Lian Xie calls for 14 to 19 named storms to develop in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, or Caribbean with 7 to 11 of those becoming hurricanes. Forecasters have gone one step beyond just predicting the number of storms and are forecasting the chance a storm could make landfall along the coast. An 80 percent chance is given for a named storm (tropical storm or stronger) to make landfall somewhere from the east coast of Florida to North Carolina. There is a 70 percent chance that storm would be a hurricane. Along the Gulf coast, there is an 80 percent chance for a hurricane to make landfall.
Having studied tropical meteorology taught by Dr. Xie, I have great respect for his forecast. However, we must remember it is just that -- a forecast with uncertainty. It only takes one storm making landfall to cause excessive damage affecting many people. We must watch the tropics closely from June through November this and every hurricane season.
It has been some time since a major hurricane impacted the North Carolina coast. It is impossible to say whether or not that will change this year, but it is best to be ready just in case. In the coming weeks, News 14 Carolina and Carolina on Demand will air a series on how North Carolina residents can prepare for hurricane season. Then stay tuned for our tropical updates starting June 1 at :21 after the hour every hour through November.
Read more on the outlook for the 2010 hurricane season from NCSU forecasters at http://cfdl.meas.ncsu.edu/research/TCoutlook_2010.html